When you think of the best programs in college football several names immediately come to mind: the Michigan Wolverines, Texas Longhorns, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ohio State Buckeyes and Oklahoma Sooners. If that list looks familiar, it’s because those are the seven most successful programs in college football history — each with several National Championships under their belt.
Several more programs following this elite seven have taken home some hardware as well. You have to get down to No. 14 on the list to find the most successful program in college football without a single National Championship game appearance — much less a title.
That program you ask?
West Virginia has an all-time record of 708-463-5, good for a 60.1 success percentage. Not bad for a program that has never claimed nor won a National Championship, even in the days when multiple polls decided the nation’s best team and there could be as many as six National Champions named depending on which complicated formula or human poll you decided to put your faith in.
This in no way is an indictment of the quality of the West Virginia program, in fact, it is more of a statement of amazement that a program with this level of quality for this long a period of time has never had a shot at all the marbles.
A few other programs that share the Mountaineers plight include the 16th most successful program in history, the Virginia Tech Hokies, and surprisingly, the Miami (OH) Redhawks who are the 25th most successful program in college football history with a record of 668-410-44.
My bet is the Mountaineers take home a crystal trophy before either the Hokies or Redhawks. There’s just something about Dana Holgorsen.
Call it a hunch.